Now we reach one of the questions of which there is no real right or wrong answer: which goalie will the Coyotes protect?
Sarah Hall, Managing Editor
Louis Domingue had a rough season and the Golden Knights have better goalie options available than both he and Mike Smith, but I think Smith gets the protection and they hope Domingue stays.
Carl Pavlock, Contributor
Honestly, I don’t think it really matters. I doubt that Vegas is going to want to absorb Smith’s contract and there are better options then Domingue. In true Vegas fashion though, I think the Coyotes should gamble a little and expose Mike Smith. I don’t think that Domingue is the better goaltender by any means, and I don’t see him as the Coyotes goaltender of the future, but I think he is more likely to be snatched up as the Golden Knight’s backup versus Smith being chosen to be their starter.
Jason Byun, Copy Editor
I can see this playing out either way because I understand why each option looks enticing. There are going to be cheap goaltending options available for Vegas (Antti Raanta, Philipp Grubauer etc.). I’d personally protect Mike Smith. While he is on the expensive side, there really aren’t many players to take off the Coyotes, especially if the team decides to protect some of their unsigned RFAs like Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook, and even Alexander Burmistrov. And if Smith is exposed and taken? I’m not sure how committed I am to giving the net to Domingue full-time. Relative to his cap hit, Domingue is expensive compared to what Vegas can find for a backup goalie (his cap hit is greater than that of Raanta’s, for example), so the Coyotes can expose him and feel good about their chances of keeping him.
Brandon Sparks, Copy Editor and sometimes Contributor
Carl just about summed up my feelings. That being said, I’d protect Smith as he’s 5th among goalies (higher than Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist) in high danger save percentage (among goalies who’ve played at least 2,000 minutes) and his record when facing 50 or more shots a game is pretty impressive. As much as we gripe about his letting in soft goals, how he over handles the puck, or how he looks at Jakob Chychrun when his man scores a goal, he’s a legitimate starting goaltender. Domingue, on the other hand, regressed this season and I would be very wary of handing him the reins. Due to his poor season, he’s unlikely to be given a second look by Vegas, who have better options (mentioned above) available.
Temsey, Contributor and Map Maker
Mike Smith’s contract is just too big for me to cover up, particularly with a team looking to ride the bottom of the cap floor for expense's sake and to save money for when these rookies get their ‘big-boy’ contracts. I’d cover Louis Domingue because I think he has the capacity to bounce back next season and become one of the better backups in the NHL (probably not a fair comparison, but Antti Raanta like).
Jessica Meyer, Social Media Manager
Listen, I honestly don’t think Vegas is going to touch either of Smith and Domingue with a ten-foot pole, but beggars gotta be choosers and I agree with Sarah. I’d protect Smith and hope that Domingue wants to come back...or we somehow find some magic beans and manage to get two new, good goalies...but that’s asking for a miracle. (I’ll just be praying at the John Chayka altar and hope that he hears our goalie and defense prayers by osmosis.)
Rose, Contributor and Researcher
Smith’s contract and reputation will be enough protection for him that the protection spot should be used on Domingue. He’s young and plays well enough to be more attractive to Vegas. Either way, it’s highly unlikely that Vegas will be looking at the Coyotes for a goalie when so many other options are going to be available. Florida has to decide between James Reimer and Roberto Luongo; Columbus has Sergei Bobrovsky and Joonas Korpisalo; Detroit has Jimmy Howard, Petr Mrazek and Jared Coreau; the Islanders have Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss and J.F. Berube; the Rangers have Lundqvist and Raanta; Philadelphia has Steve Mason, Michal Neuvirth and Anthony Stolarz; Vancouver has Ryan Miller and Jacob Markström; Washington has Holtby and Grubauer and everyone knows about the Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury / Matt Murray dilemma.
Taylor Clark, Contributor
Honestly, I don’t see a problem occurring here. Vegas is never going to want Smith, and with the unusual amount of backups threatening to be starters and UFA goalies, I doubt they’d want Domingue. Goaltending shouldn’t be any issue for the Coyotes as far as the expansion draft. Now finding consistent goaltending, however…..
We’re not worried about losing a goalie.